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Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible

Sometimes art reaches us in the precise moment when we are most ready to receive it—that singular instance when it calls out to our soul and not just our brain. The moment I came upon this art installation was one of those.

“Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible” by Alfredo Jaar.

Art installation in the Alfond Inn at Rollins College: “Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible” by Alfredo Jaar

It was January 2019 and I had been invited for an on-campus interview for my “dream job” (the position I now hold) and I could feel the enormous weight of the possibility of this opportunity. I knew what being offered this job would mean: beginning my post-PhD life in Orlando, Florida would require uprooting my then-husband and then-2-year old little boy from their lives and leaving all of my extended family in Louisville, Kentucky. I was afraid, but in a new way. This fear felt necessary and purposeful. As someone with anxiety, this was a new feeling!

Then, there in the lobby of my hotel (The Alfond Inn, the most beautiful hotel I’ve ever seen), was this insistent call to recognize the magnitude, the beauty, and the danger of what is possible. I stopped and took this photo. I felt, so deeply, the truth of it all: the awe of what is possible and the precarity of what is real. There was something absurd about it—why would they install this outside the hotel lobby restrooms??—but I have always found comfort in absurdity.

I was offered the job and I accepted it. Everything changed—the enormity of the possible sedimenting into the real. I think about this artwork often. And for this inaugural blog post, the enormity of the possible seems fitting. My intention is to document and explore aspects of what it means to be a young professional in academia; to write in order to learn about language, texts, and teaching.

Let’s see what’s possible.

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